8116.0 - Innovation in Manufacturing, Australia, 1996-97  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/06/1998   
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  • One quarter of Australian manufacturing businesses are technological innovators - ABS survey (Media Release)


June 18, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
One quarter of Australian manufacturing businesses are technological innovators - ABS survey

Just over one quarter (26 per cent) of all manufacturing businesses in Australia undertook some form of technological innovation in the three year period to 30 June 1997, according to the latest survey data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This is slightly lower than recorded in the previous survey in 1994, when 31 per cent of firms indicated that they were undertaking technological innovation. This drop is partly explained by the decrease in the proportion of small manufacturers now undertaking technological innovation.

Innovation is strongly linked to the size of the firm. On average a business which is undertaking technological innovation has five times as many employees as one which doesn't. In total, innovating businesses contribute about two thirds of the total employment and about three quarters of the total turnover of all manufacturing businesses.

The main reasons for undertaking innovation were 'Reducing costs' (92 per cent), 'Maximising profits' (92 per cent) and 'Improving productivity' (89 per cent).

These objectives appear to have been met as two thirds of the businesses that undertook technological innovation reported that their innovation activities had positive effects on the production activities and profitability of the business. About half the firms are estimated to have increased employment as well.

Most reported barriers to starting innovation projects were: Government policy & taxation (40.7 per cent); Current economic climate (40.6 per cent); Insufficient retained earnings (36.0 per cent); and, Potential market already dominated (35.6 per cent).

Twenty-four per cent of manufacturers had acquired at least one advanced manufacturing technology. A further 12 per cent were either currently installing advanced technologies or expected to install them in the next two years.

Further details can be found in Innovation in Manufacturing, Australia, 1996-97 (cat. no. 8116.0) which is now available from ABS bookshops